This I Believe
McNeil, Joe B.
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And now, This I Believe. A series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Joe B. McNeil is superintendant of schools in Wichita Falls, Texas. His professional colleagues speak of his warmth and sincerity and describe him as a man whose whole life has been dedicated to the youth of his city, state and nation. Behind this reputation lies thirty years of teaching and school administration as well as a record of devoted community leadership. Here is Joe McNeil’s creed.
As I look at world conditions as portrayed in our newspapers, our magazines, our radio, and our current books, I find myself asking this question: What can I tell the boys and girls that come to our schools about their future? Is it as dark as it appears? Is it as hopeless as some would have us believe? To answer that question, I find it highly important to have a deep abiding faith, a faith which assures me that there is a God of creation, and also a faith which assures me that my God is watching over a planned universe.
Deep in my heart there is a truth which I hold in inviolate. This truth is the source of strength which enables me to face each new group with joyous anticipation.
As an educator, preparing the youth of today for the world of today and tomorrow, I’m constantly reminded of the surging struggles of man to fulfill his destiny on this earth. Each new year brings me face to face with the miracle of creation. Hundreds of new personalities, each different from the other and different from the others who have gone before, come to us each year. Each and every one of these children bring with them resources which can change the course of destiny. Each brings with him the power to make this earth a better place in which to live. This power is revealed to me over and over again, as I watch boys and girls grow to maturity and take their place as citizens in their community.
I shall never forget one boy whose life illustrated the hidden potential ever present in humanity. This boy first came to my attention as a member of my seventh grade history class. There was nothing to set him apart from his classmates other than his general appearance of being unloved and unkempt. He was not a brilliant student but tried hard and accomplished the tasks assigned to him. I suspected no hidden spark of genius, and there was none. But as I watched this boy grow into manhood, I found something more important to the world than genius. This boy did not become governor of his state, the mayor of his town, nor president of the Chamber of Commerce.
This boy did become a good husband, a kind father, an organizer of kid baseball, a teacher in his church school, and a worker in all worthwhile civic activities. His example of giving to the fullest extent of his talents has caused others to exert themselves a little more, thus making the community a better place.
This incident is being constantly repeated in my own community and throughout the world. I believe that someday, one of these children will kindle the flame which will light the way to a world infinitely better than the one we now know. Without this faith, I would not have the courage to face each new group as they come to us, offering a potential of power unequal in any natural resource.
Within this generation of boys and girls which I’m helping guide today, there lies the power to achieve a new and better tomorrow. This I believe, or my profession would degenerate to a thankless job.
That was Joe B. McNeil, superintendant of schools in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is active in educational, youth, and community affairs.